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John Ruskin Papers

Date range: 1813-1919.

Manuscript collection comprising over 2,000 items relating to John Ruskin (1819-1900), his work and his contemporaries, complementing the printed Ruskin Collection.

The collection sheds light on Ruskin himself and his works, his personal affairs and his domestic and financial problems.

There is also a section comprising some 500 items relating to Ruskin’s cousin and heir, Joan Severn (née Askew), and her husband Arthur, which include detailed accounts of Ruskin's illnesses and death, with correspondence between the Severns and the eminent pathologist, (Sir) John Simon.

Ruskin's own letters fall into three categories:

  • those written to friends and relations
  • those dealing primarily with the Guild of St George
  • those concerned with the arts and with Ruskin's books

Major correspondents include William Henry Harrison (his first editor), Henry Jowett (printer and manager of Hazell, Watson & Viney of Aylesbury), Peter Bayne (author and editor of the Edinburgh Witness and the Weekly Review), the booksellers F.S. Ellis and David White, Ralph Nicholson Wornum (Keeper of the National Gallery), his cousin George Richardson, Mrs Fanny Talbot (Ruskin’s close friend and patron of the Guild), his god-daughter (Emma) Constance Oldham, and Miss Blanche Atkinson of Liverpool.

In addition to letters there are manuscript fragments, photographs, business papers, and papers of Ruskin relating to Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).

See also

Finding aids

  • Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
  • Recorded in published handlist of English Manuscripts (English MSS 1161-1166, 1193, 1245-1267, 1304).

Alternative form

Published microfilm: John Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and Arts and Crafts Movement: the Ruskin, Holman Hunt, Fairfax Murray, Spielmann and Related Collections from the John Rylands University Library, Manchester (Woodbridge: Research Publications, 1990).


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

Further information

The Ruskin Library, University of Lancaster, which holds a virtually complete collection of editions of Ruskin's works, and a fine collection of Ruskin manuscripts, drawings and watercolours.

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